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4 Wartime Impressions
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Composers: Pieter Corten
Product Code: YDME2016023
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Pieter Corten about Wartime Impressions: The work came about in the period with the attacks on Brussels and Nice. These were the first times for me that terrorism struck so close to home, of which I was faded.

However, I am not a frightened person at all, so the attacks did not make me more cautious than I was before. But I recognized the impact that those events had on society and thought: time to make a composition around it.

The piece describes 4 different impressions that accompany war. The emphasis is on the word impression: as a privileged, war-virgin westerner, you cannot claim that you can fully grasp a given as a war.

The first impression 'Prelude' describes the period that precedes the start of the war. For me, the music expresses much doubt and little support. Music has different parameters: pitch, tone duration, pitch and my personal favorite: timbre. You can color that timbre in different ways: with the instruments you use and the harmonies that you make sound. The work is entirely built on this last parameter. By using a constant stream of notes, the music acquires a static character and I shift the attention from 'where does it go' to 'what do I hear in the moment'. After all, it never hurts to think about what happens in the moment instead of speculating how a situation will unfold.

The second impression 'Industry' represents the war machine with its constant, unstoppable drive. In this part I divide the orchestra into different layers that conflict with each other on a very regular basis. You get a game of question and answer that I see as a discussion. One makes a statement, the other does the same as an answer to it. However, the discussion does not yet have a resolution.

The third impression 'Ode to Beauty' is what the title suggests: an ode to beauty. During difficult periods, people go back to what is clean for them. That is why I wrote this part in a more traditional way: with the sounds that sound 'clean' from nature. But I also wanted the music to be expressive and the dissonant is the most expressive note in a chord, hence the sometimes somewhat strange notes in the harmonies. The challenge in this part is to let the music sound calmly with a challenging magazine in front of you.

The fourth and final impression 'Fugueitives and Apotheosis' is certainly not a writing error. It is in fact a play on 'fugue' and 'fugitives', the refugees that arise in conflict areas. The part starts with a fugue, a strict musical form, in which you hear themes from the past three parts. The music is built up layer by layer until you get to the apotheosis: the war bursting out.

Maybe someday there will be a day where I can make a fifth impression 'peace', but for now it looks like we will have to wait a little longer ...

Audio sample

Highlights from Wartime Impressions:

Specifications of the work

Orchestration: concert band
Genre: concert work
Difficulty: grade 6
Playing time: 00:14:00
Publication: 2018

Playing time individual parts

I Prelude: 3 '
II Industry: 2'20 "
III Ode to Beauty: 4'40 "
IV Fugueitives and Apotheosis: 3'20 "



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